Jean-François Lyotard's figural is read in relation to discourse. The figural introduces in aesthetics a sense of cultivating those moments of intensity that resist and escape all regulating power, be it linguistic discourse or the order of the conscious or political constraints. The figural is the matrix of Lyotard's broader notion of philosophy but also the sign of Gilles Deleuze's conception of painting and Paul Valéry's essays on drawing. In this sense, the figural is a generic concept applicable to all reflection on the sensible that temporarily abandons the structuring power of language.

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